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Nurses, Here's How to Nail Your Virtual Interview


Virtual interviewing has become a necessary tool in the recruitment and hiring process for many healthcare and nursing organizations, and it seems that trend will continue. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiters often started the hiring process by conducting phone interviews with candidates they were interested in, which could then lead to an in-person interview with the recruiter, direct supervisors, and others. But when the pandemic made physical distancing and rigid infection control precautions necessary, face-to-face meetings became a riskier proposition. As a result, virtual job interviews frequently became the go-to tool for narrowing down a candidate pool. And according to a survey, although 82% of respondents said they implemented virtual interviews because of the pandemic, 93% of respondents said they would continue in the foreseeable future. Virtual interviews have some clear benefits, including convenient scheduling when busy hiring managers and job candidates are in different locations. Yet online meetings can sometimes hinder a nurse's ability to make an interpersonal connection with a recruiter.

During a virtual interview, a job recruiter will not only be looking to gauge a candidate's skillset and their ability to think on their feet, but also to determine if a candidate would fit into the workplace culture.

To make the most of the hiring process in this situation, keep these virtual interview tips in mind as you prepare for your on-screen debut with recruiters:

Make an unforgettable virtual impression

Recruiters are often swamped with resumes and may have several virtual interviews lined up for the same position. To help secure a job offer, you need to make yourself stand out, which can be easier said than done. To capture their interest, make sure you can respond authoritatively to the following questions:

  • What makes you proud to be a nurse?
  • What can you offer the organization that others can't?
  • What positively surprises coworkers and managers about you?
  • Which of your traits do you think were most appreciated by past managers and coworkers?
  • How do you define "excellence" for yourself?
  • What contributions do you make to your community outside of work?

Because of the inherent challenges in online interviewing, preparation is vital. Make sure to practice responses to boilerplate questions beforehand so you can have a prompt, confident response at the ready. Additionally, it may prove helpful to have notes at your disposal -- but refrain from constantly referring to them.

Don't be afraid to boast (without bragging)

Marketing yourself will play a key role in winning over recruiters and convincing them to choose you after the interview. When speaking with recruiters and managers, don't be afraid to highlight your strengths. Keep in mind that the healthcare arena attracts people who want to make a difference in the lives of others. With that thought in mind, "arrive" at the virtual interview prepared to discuss how you feel your work as a nurse has made a difference in someone's life.

Keep an eye out for culture clues

Remote interviews don't allow you to observe the office environment first-hand and interact with other team members outside of the interview. Nor do they allow recruiters, managers, and job candidates to see and interpret one another's body language to the same extent. Unfortunately, you will miss out on these first-person snapshots, which can give both you and the hiring manager insight into working together. But you can pick up on other cues from interviewers -- including potential displays of rudeness, friendliness, and communication styles -- all of which can give you an insight into the company's culture.

Know how to present yourself on screen

Think strategically about how you can highlight your personality and professionalism virtually. Since remote interviews remove many of the in-person cues recruiters once used to judge a candidate, many now take these cues from your physical background. When preparing for your interview, consider what the recruiter will see behind you and stage your environment. A neutral, uncluttered background is best, but if that's not possible, use a virtual background, preferably with an image of an office, rather than mountains, space, beaches, or an abstract image. Here are some more tips to help you put your best foot forward:

  • Make sure you have proper lighting.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Appear as if you're making eye contact with the recruiter by looking directly into the webcam.
  • Ask the recruiter questions designed to explore the company's culture and your place in it, such as, "What's your favorite part of working there?" and "What do you enjoy most about the company's culture?"
  • Be ready to ask follow-up questions to ease into a real conversation with natural give and take. Showing that you're engaged in the conversation is important.

A few parting thoughts

Virtual interviewing may have gained popularity as a solution to the social distancing required during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has become a common practice that helps employers screen job candidates like you before bringing them in for a face-to-face meeting. So be ready. The work you have put into landing the right job -- networking, sending out resumes, interviewing -- is only the beginning of your new career path. After you start your role, you'll be part of a new culture that may naturally shift and adjust over time. Be sure to keep abreast of these changes and learn how to maneuver them to your benefit. And be ready to share the knowledge you've acquired with your new colleagues and show how you can help the organization as it looks to the future. After all, nursing is a team endeavor. Whether you're actively seeking a new job or assessing your next steps, explore's job marketplace to help match your experience and skills to the best-fitting role.